ForesightNews world briefing: upcoming events 16 – 22 July

A weekly round up of world events from Monday, 16 to Sunday, 22 July from Foresight News

By Nicole Hunt

UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan is back in Moscow on Monday for a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Despite a Russian-backed agreement signed in Geneva at the end of June, international action on Syria has been slow-moving ever since, despite the US and the UK taking a strong stance against Syria and China just a week later at the Friends of Syria meeting. Annan’s meeting with Lavrov comes on the heels of a reported massacre in Treimsa on 12 July, in which at least 200 Syrians were killed.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begins a two-day trip to Israel, where she’ll discuss the Middle East peace process with Israeli and Palestinian officials. The visit is Clinton’s first in two years, and comes ahead of a trip by Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney next week; in addition to the diplomatic meetings, Clinton will surely be hoping to shore up some support for the Democrats from wealthy ex-pat Americans in Israel.

Monday also marks the 70th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv roundup, which saw over 13,000 of France’s Jews deported to Germany, where most ended up at Auschwitz. Paris is marking the anniversary with a Day of Commemoration and the release and exhibition of meticulously kept records related to the roundup. The documents had previously been kept secret to hide the extent of the collaboration between French police and the Germans under the Vichy regime during World War II.

Abd al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al Nashiri, the Guantanamo Bay detainee charged with the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, appears for a three-day motions hearing on Tuesday. Fifteen motions due to be heard, including one requesting that Judge James Pohl recuses himself or is disqualified from the case, one to dismiss the charges, and one requesting that the proceedings are broadcast via traditional media, rather than the military’s current closed circuit system.

Former US President George W. Bush is a contributor to a new book published Tuesday called The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs. The idea of Bush Jr. sharing his thoughts on economic growth has raised some eyebrows among those who remember that the economy wasn’t exactly the strongpoint of his presidency.

The UN Security Council is due to adopt a resolution on the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) in New York on Wednesday, two days before the mission’s three-month mandate expires. Given that the mission has been suspended since 16 June, and in the wake of ongoing violence and the Houla and Treimsa massacres, any renewal is likely to be dependent on a change in the form the mission takes or tougher sanctions on the Syrian regime.

Indians go to the polls on Thursday to elect their president for a five-year term. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee resigned from his post last month in order to run for the UPA party, and now looks likely to win. Mukherjee has been campaigning hard to convince the electorate to follow tradition and vote for whichever candidate their party leaders back, and indeed to make sure he’s the one smaller parties are throwing their support behind.

The month-long Muslim festival of Ramadan is likely to officially start on Friday, though Muslims will begin to observe it from sundown on Thursday. The exact date for the festival’s beginning is still a bit up in the air, as the beginning of the lunar month is dependent on the sighting of the new moon.

Apple’s iPad goes on sale in China on Friday, the launch having been delayed due to a naming dispute with Chinese firm Proview. China is Apple’s second-strongest market (after its home ground in the US), but while the release of the iPhone 4s last year caused havoc, Chinese analysts are predicting the new iPad won’t fare as well, as cheaper, ‘gray market’ versions have been available from Hong Kong for months.

Francesco Schettino, the skipper of the Costa Concordia who has been nicknamed ‘Captain Coward’ after he allegedly fled the ship as it went down in January, is scheduled to be back in front of the court in Grosseto, Italy on Saturday. The court is expected to be presented with the results of the analysis of data from the ship’s Voyage Data Recorders (or ‘black boxes’). Schettino has recently appeared in several TV interviews, most recently apologising for the disaster and admitting to being ‘distracted’ at the time.

The 19th biennial International AIDS Conference kicks off in Washington on Sunday. Bill Clinton, Elton John, Bill Gates, Whoopi Goldberg and Aung San Suu Kyi (via videolink) are among those attending to discus

s the major challenges facing the global response to AIDS and to preview new scientific research. Norway marks the first anniversary of the 22 July attacks, which saw 77 people killed in a bombing in Oslo and a mass shooting at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoya. Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik , who has admitted carrying out the attacks but claimed they were justified, recently stood trial for the killings; the verdict in his case is expected on 24 August.